The Federal Ministry of Education has stated that its inability to secure the consent of President Umaru Yar’Adua has prevented it from acceding to the demand of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
The education ministry also said the inability to secure the presidential consent is affecting talks with the budget office and salaries and wages commission.
Education Minister, Sam Egwu, however, told the Senate Education Committee, Tuesday, that the agreement being alluded to by ASUU is actually a draft document.
ASUU, President Ukachukwu Awuzie, who briefed the Senator Joy Emodi-led Committee earlier, reiterated that there was an agreement signed with the government two and half year ago on how to resolve the crisis.
The indefinite strike called by ASUU has entered its second week and officials of the union and the Minister of Education, Sam Egwu, Tuesday appeared before the Senate Committee on Education shortly after the ministry met with the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Egwu told the committee that what was delaying the signing of the agreement was that President Yar’Adua wanted an approved, enduring and sustainable salary structure for the striking university lecturers.
“There is no concrete agreement on salary, we are waiting for the president’s consent to determine the exact amount to pay”, he said.
Furthermore, Egwu also told the committee that the issue of new salary was the only critical issue delaying the agreement, saying “it is because it involves the budget office; Salaries and Wages Commission”.
The minister also told the committee that as part of government’s effort at resolving the crisis, an inter-ministerial committee, which had just concluded its assignment, was set up to work on the new salary structure.
“But before the Inter-ministerial Committee ended its assignment, the ASUU went on strike, but we are now about to invite them to a meeting and reach an agreement”, Egwu said.
Egwu had earlier in the day met with the leadership of the PDP led by its National Chairman, Vincent Ogbulafor, where he informed them that “a realistic and sustainable” solution was being worked out by the government.
He informed the party leaders that government had agreed to increase the salaries of the striking lecturers to a realistic and sustainable level, but that though government has acceded to increase salaries of the striking lecturers, the percentage increase will fall short of the 109 per cent increase they are demanding.
“They only issue that is outstanding is salary.
The are asking government to pay academic staff 109 per cent over what they are receiving now. In other words, over 109 per cent should be their new salaries.
“Government is saying in as much as there is nothing bad in paying academic staff that amount, it has to be something that is realistic and sustainable, something that they can pay today and tomorrow and pay next tomorrow, something that they can pay and be happy that they are also touching other needs of the country and that is where we are now.
“I want to assure you that before the end of this week we shall call ASUU and tell them that this is realistically what government can pay and what they can sustain .“The president has approved that there should be an Inter-ministerial Committee to look at this salary issue because, as you are talking about salary for ASUU, the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) is also talking about salary increase for every member of public service. The other unions, the medical workers are also demanding for increase”, the minister stated.
Bello’s Gunmen After My Life, Family -Kogi Dep Gov
Deputy Governor of Kogi State, Elder Simon Achuba yesterday alleged that the governor of the state has sent gunmen after his life.
Acbuba called on the inspector General of Police, the Department of State Services (DSS), the Army and other security personnel to safeguard his life, family members and his aides.
Achuba, who spoke with newsmen at his official residence in Lokoja said, “From all information at my disposal, the governor has mobilised gunmen to attack me.
“I want the police, SSS, IGP to know that if anything should happen to me, my family and aides, the governor should be held responsible.”
The deputy governor likewise called on the President to beam his searchlight on the state.
LGAs Responsible For Farmers, Herdsmen Clashes In Nigeria -UN
Zebulon Takwa, Peace and Development Adviser, Office of the UN Resident Coordinator in Nigeria, says poor Local Government administration is largely responsible for farmers-herdsmen clashes in Nigeria
Takwa, who gave the position in an interview with newsmen yesterday in Abuja, expressed concerns over “weak operational structures at the local government level’’.
He said that issues that were supposed to be addressed by local administration authority were left unattended to over a long period.
The UN official noted that most of the issues that escalated to crises ought to have been resolved at the local level by the authorities, traditional and religious leaders.
He decried the situation where structures for such prompt amicable settlement were not effective enough to prevent conflicts.
Takwa condemned the situation where most local government officials migrated to urban centres instead of concentrating on their primary responsibilities of settling crises, developing infrastructure and social amenities, among others.
Reprisal Killing: Taraba Police, Tiv, Junkun Differ On Casualities
The Police Command in Taraba State has said that only one individual was killed in what appeared to be a revenge for the alleged murder of a Junkun man yesterday.
While the Tiv claimed that no fewer than nine of their kinsmen were killed in Takum town, Takum Local Government Area of Taraba State on Tuesday, the Police said the figure was not true.
Takum is the hometown of Governor DariusIshaku who turned 65 today.
Multiple sources in Takum said trouble started yesterday morning when a Jukun man was killed on his farm along Takum-Wukari road, and irate Jukun youths in Takum went on the rampage, killing at least eight people in the town.
A resident of Takum, Mr. Nathaniel Jato, in a telephone interview with our Correspondent said the eight people killed in Takum town were all Tiv resident in the town.
“We counted at least eight dead bodies around General Hospital Junction and Zenith Bank around the Wukari roundabout.
“We were told that many people were killed around Rimi Primary school area, but there is tension, so we can’t go there.
“The Caretaker Chairman of Takum Local Government Council, ShibanTikari, has assured us that the situation will not escalate, but I am afraid the situation might degenerate if adequate security measures are not put in place,” he lamented.
Jato, who said there was threat that their houses would be attacked in the night, called on Governor Darius Ishaku and security authorities to quickly restore peace in the area to pave way for proper investigation of the matter.
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